HIV-derived antibacterial shows promise against drug-resistant bacteria

June 19, 2013, American Society for Microbiology

A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh has developed antibacterial compounds, derived from the outer coating of HIV, that could be potential treatments for drug-resistant bacterial infections and appear to avoid generating resistance. These new agents are quite small, making them inexpensive and easy to manufacture. The research was published in the June 2013 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

The first of many probable applications will likely be the chronic bacterial infections in the lungs of "that frequently develop resistance to all standard antibiotics, and are the leading cause of death in these patients," says senior author Ronald Montelaro.

The lead compound shows powerful antibacterial activity against clinical isolates of diverse that are resistant to most antibiotics. These agents, called engineered cationic (eCAPs) "may be applicable to treatment of other respiratory infections, topical infections, and systemic infections," says Montelaro.

The genesis of the new agent was basic research on HIV envelope protein structure and function, says Montelaro. As part of this research, "we identified highly conserved unique that were predicted by computer modeling to assume structures characteristic of natural antibacterial peptides. Since antibacterial peptides specifically target and disrupt the integrity and function of bacterial membranes, we thought that these similar in the HIV envelope protein might contribute to toxicity and death in infected cells by altering cell membranes."

The team engineered the original HIV peptides for greater effectiveness and smaller size, the latter to reduce manufacturing expenses. The engineering involved modifying amino acid content (they contain just two different amino acids), peptide length, charge, and hydrophobicity. The current paper describes the third generation peptides. The lead agent contains just 12 amino acid residues.

"Another potential application is biodefense, where eCAPs may be used as a rapid postexposure aerosol treatment in individuals after exposure to aerosolized pathogens, where the goal of immediate treatment would be to rapidly reduce bacterial dose from a lethal to a nonlethal or subclinical level," says Montelaro.

Explore further: Discovery holds potential in destroying drug-resistant bacteria

Related Stories

Discovery holds potential in destroying drug-resistant bacteria

May 7, 2013
Through the serendipity of science, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have discovered a potential treatment for deadly, drug-resistant bacterial infections that uses the same approach that HIV uses to infect cells. ...

Researchers find peptide produced by giant panda fights fungi and bacteria

January 3, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at the Life Sciences College of Nanjing Agricultural University in China have found that giant pandas naturally produce a peptide that can kill fungi and bacteria. In their paper published ...

Synthetic corkscrew peptide kills antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria

January 24, 2013
An engineered peptide provides a new prototype for killing an entire category of resistant bacteria by shredding and dissolving their double-layered membranes, which are thought to protect those microbes from antibiotics.

Recommended for you

Forces from fluid in the developing lung play an essential role in organ development

January 23, 2018
It is a marvel of nature: during gestation, multiple tissue types cooperate in building the elegantly functional structures of organs, from the brain's folds to the heart's multiple chambers. A recent study by Princeton researchers ...

More surprises about blood development—and a possible lead for making lymphocytes

January 22, 2018
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have long been regarded as the granddaddy of all blood cells. After we are born, these multipotent cells give rise to all our cell lineages: lymphoid, myeloid and erythroid cells. Hematologists ...

How metal scaffolds enhance the bone healing process

January 22, 2018
A new study shows how mechanically optimized constructs known as titanium-mesh scaffolds can optimize bone regeneration. The induction of bone regeneration is of importance when treating large bone defects. As demonstrated ...

Researchers illustrate how muscle growth inhibitor is activated, could aid in treating ALS

January 19, 2018
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine are part of an international team that has identified how the inactive or latent form of GDF8, a signaling protein also known as myostatin responsible for ...

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.